The teams in the FIM Superbike World Championship are preparing for the next and final overseas race weekend of the season at Salt Lake City, USA from 29th – 31st May.
The SBK program for the weekend will be put back a day from the normal schedule, the first free practice session taking place on Saturday and the races on Monday.
This is because in the USA the last Monday in May is traditionally set aside for Memorial Day, a public holiday to honour soldiers who have died serving their country.
Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport will make the journey across the Atlantic with 108 World Championship points already in the bank after the first six race weekends of the season – 49 more than at the same stage of 2009.
Troy Corser says: "Last year we didn’t have our best weekend in the States. We just couldn’t keep pace with the top riders and teams. Salt Lake City lies at a higher altitude than all the other circuits on the calendar, and that has an impact on engine output."
"But that’s not our main problem. The area we need to work on most is the chassis. The key here is to be clever with our chassis settings to increase mechanical grip, so that the electronics have to cut in as little as possible. I’ve got a few ideas which I’m keen to put into action at Salt Lake City."
Ruben Xaus says: "I’m looking forward to Salt Lake City. I’m feeling good on the bike, and that makes it easy for me as a rider. I hope that we can take another step forward in America. I’ve only raced here twice before, so we don’t have as much experience of this track as we do of other places. Plus, we don’t test here.
"This circuit is very long and has some interesting corners. However, its altitude means the engines lose some of their power, and no rider likes that. The track is technically very demanding and it’s very important to find a good set-up for the bike."
Berthold Hauser (BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director) says: "The race weekend at Miller Motorsports Park marks the halfway point in the season, and we can be pleased with our record so far in 2010."
"We celebrated our first podium at Monza, and both riders have a lot more points than at the same stage of last season. Indeed, Troy has collected more points than he managed over the whole of 2009. And in the manufacturers’ standings we already have 108 points, 49 more than after the sixth race weekend last year."
"Following the weekend in South Africa, the races in the US will also take place at a higher than usual altitude. The lower air density here causes the engines to lose around 20 per cent of their output. In our rookie season last year we weren’t able to make the most of our relatively high engine power on the long straights."
"In order to compare the calculated drop-off in output with actual values, we tested the BMW S 1000 RR in the altitude test facility at the BMW Energy and Environmental Test Centre in Munich. We are expecting to line up at Salt Lake City with a good bike for our riders."
World Superbike Event Background
Salt Lake City has a population of approximately 180,000 and lies on the eastern side of the Great Salt Lake. Both the city and the state of Utah as a whole are centres of Mormonism.
The Miller Motorsports Park is located some 30 minutes by car from Utah’s capital Salt Lake City and is one of North America’s most cutting-edge motor sport facilities.
As well as hosting US motorcycle races, it has also been a regular venue for car racing series – such as the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) – since its opening in 2006.
The riders in the Superbike World Championship have been competing on the 4.907-kilometre-long circuit since 2008. Miller Motorsports Park is a paradise for motor sport fans.
Visitors to the Performance Training Center can take the opportunity to improve their own riding or driving skills before admiring some of the world’s most spectacular racing cars in the Larry H. Miller Museum.
And this weekend it will not only be the Superbike engines raising the decibel levels in Utah, as classic rock bands Styx, Foreigner and Kansas take to the stage at the circuit as part of the support programme for the race weekend.
Grip is literally thin on the ground at Salt Lake City, which means the bike has to be set up to generate as much mechanical grip as possible. Plus, the altitude of the track means engine output is extremely important.
The BMW Motorrad Motorsport engineers have come up with a special set-up for this circuit to give the bike perfect responses through the numerous changes of direction of the infield section.
Memorial Day goes back to the American Civil War. Traditionally, Americans use this day to visit cemeteries and memorials, and the US flag flies at half mast from dawn until noon.
The day also marks the beginning of the summer season, and the weekend brings with it another major motor sport occasion: the Indianapolis 500, the world’s oldest and most historic circuit race for cars.